Yesterday I attended a poetry workshop with some of my students with the movie maker and poet Roland Legiardi Laura, the director of To Be Heard movie. It was one of these times that I felt alive, and there is nothing in this world could defeat me.
Roland asked the entire attendants to grab a piece of paper and a pen and start writing, just like what he was doing in the movie with the high school students. We all did what he asked us to do; for me such an exercise was the utmost joy. I was simply to grab a paper and pen and start writing; no subjects were wanted, nor there was lack of words. I had many in my mind and all I had to do was to decide on which I would focus at that moment.
I have fascination for books, old books; dairies left on the shelves, and tell a story of forgotten past. When it happens that I re-arrange my desk or bookshelves, and then my hand lies accidently on something I have forgotten it is there, I feel excited to see parts, images or words of what I used to be.
I had a blue notebook that I turned into a diary some years ago. It carried between its leaves some of my old ramblings about life, family, college and other things. When I tried to read some of its pages once, I was scared to know that some of my troubles today have been always troubles to me even back then, when I was in my twenties and a whole lifetime was still ahead of me. I whined about them and still I do. I didn't like that. The realization that struck me then that I was entangled in the same web I was in for many years now; that I was not brave or determined enough to let go, and live the present; that I never nourished hope, nor I thought of better life, as if I was in love with my own sadness, with that self-pity that filled these old pages and still feed on the new ones! I didn't dare to read more, but the realization kept pressing its truth on me: that I had tendency to be sad and I kept myself well in this atmosphere.
In yesterday's workshop, while thinking of what subject I should try, I remembered this small incident, and how deep it influenced me. Thus, words started flowing to portray my wondering at the moment I discovered this diary.
Cleaning the desk of useless papers,
Accumulating in heaps over my desk,
I find a drawer at the bottom,
Stuck, resisting my invading hands
With persistence, I conquered its contents,
To find a book covered with dust.
For how long it has been there? I wondered;
The dust speaks of years of neglect.
Will I dare disturbing its peace?
Will I disturb the silence of its yellow leaves?
Can I share their hidden secrets?
Would they allow me to shake off their isolation?
I wanted to remove the old grains
To let the blue shine again
But my hands stopped at the grey cover
I got scared ...
Nadia F. Mohammed